Tag Archives: critique group

The weekend warrior

I work during the week, so I have to get my word count on my days off. I’m blessed to have a flex schedule that provides me with an extra day off each week, but it moves around. Sometimes my word counts seem high when I write about them, but if you spread it over a whole week they aren’t any more extraordinary than anyone else.

Today was a slow start for me. I slept in, spent some time for social media, and wasn’t generally feeling it. I also wanted to enjoy my coffee and Old What’s Her Face is off today. I decided to wait until she took the dogs for her coffee, then play ball with them.

It was about 9:00 before I got started. This is the middle volume of a trilogy, so my ending needs to have a complete disaster, while preserving that glimmer of hope they can deal with in the final volume. Yeah, it’s kind of formulaic and I own that. If it works, it works.

My writing turned out to be about a chapter and a half of solid action, and I slightly “told” small bits of it to keep the burner on high for the whole thing. If you think about a city being invaded by an enemy, you need to skip some of the running and hiding and stay with the action. I also included multiple points of view, because it’s a geographically large event.

Even after all that, I still haven’t finished the story. I need to write what is called a sequel to deal with all the things that happened. Staci Troilo is writing an excellent series about that process over at Story Empire.

The crew is in another new location right now. A bit of world building fits in with the flavor of the story. If I’m good, I’ll have one of those inspirational speeches that can lead us into the final volume. I know what remains to include in the story, and where it winds up, but I’m still trying to get there. I’m relatively certain I’ll finish it before I go back to work on Tuesday.

My short story critiques are all back, so I have to deal with those, too. This story needs some work, but it exists and that’s the hard part. Tweaks and repairs aren’t so difficult, and it is a short story.

I’m pretty happy with this Lanternfish tale, but Sundays are hard to get much done. I have other things I regularly do on Sundays. That might be the best day to deal with my short story. Monday will provide a great opportunity to wrap up HMS Lanternfish.

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A long weekend

I took Friday as a vacation day, and Monday was my flex day. This was just what I needed, to be honest. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t productive, but I didn’t hit it full speed either.

Start with Friday. Old What’s Her Face had to work, so this was my writing day. I tried to hit it hard, because I didn’t expect a better opportunity. I wound up adding 4100 new words to Lanternfish.

I’ve been setting the stage for some of this for a few chapters now. I started to reveal the con job my crew is going to have to pull once they arrive in the war zone. I also have some seeds that haven’t sprouted yet and look forward to those chapters.

Then I sent Lanternfish into a hot welcome in the form of two Hollish warships. With their little fleet, only Lanternfish is capable of defending herself, unless there is an even older battle tactic that might still have some life in it.

I also finally introduced my ghost into the story. This is an old Japanese legend, and honestly, Japanese ghosts are scary as hell. This involves haunted items. I did a ton of research on them, then made my own up to fit the framework. The result was bloody and gruesome, and I’m well pleased with it.

A root monster earned a name (kind of), and they made a mistake involving a golden phallus. Have to keep some of the humor going here.

My wife was off Saturday and Sunday. We’re doing our best to stay home, and did small things around the house. I pruned my Asian pear a bit, and have more to go. I continued with thinning its fruit. I should have sprayed it for coddling moth, but haven’t done that yet.

We turned on Disney+ and watched the new Star Wars movie. We went to it in the theater, but now that it’s that simple we decided to watch it again.

I dabbled with other writing projects, adding a few words to my short story, and a few more to Lanternfish. I’m debating parking Lizzie and the Hat now, until one of those gets finished. This is always a possibility, and it feels like time.

I had one goal for today, and that was to send a chapter of Lanternfish to my critique group. My iPad seems to have a haunting of its own today. When I selected the chapter, it froze up and wouldn’t let me do anything. I closed the app, and that will sometimes break the strangle hold. Not this time. It decided to arbitrarily delete the last two chapters I’d written.

Rather than throwing the stupid thing against the wall. I put it down and made a pot of coffee. About once a year, Old What’s Her Face buys me a can of chickory as a treat, and I used it. This gave me time to think. Apple just had an update and that could be part of my problem. Doesn’t solve anything, but it came to me in the kitchen.

Pages gives me options upon selection of a part of my work, copy/cut/ delete. Maybe it cut the section and was still on the clipboard. I could simply paste it back… Big nope. It had been deleted.

As a last feeble effort I tried the undo button. It restored everything that I’d lost, and I was able to copy and paste it for my critique group. It’s a miracle that I didn’t reboot the whole thing, which would have cleared the undo button.

Today was a possible writing day, too. I continued, but after my adventure, didn’t accomplish much. If you add on the dabbling with the short story and today, my whole weekend probably landed at about 5000 words. Good progress any way you slice it.

Tomorrow is working from home, and Wednesday I get my turn in the office. I have enough work for one day, but really need to go in for more files and such.

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Busy, but productive

I started my week off with a visit to Mae Clair’s blog. I ended it with a stop by John Howell’s place. These were both stops to promote Grinders. A couple per week is much easier to manage than the dozen or so I’ve done in the past. I still intend to put out a decent number of them, but I’m going to spread them out a bit more.

Lisa Burton went back on the air somewhere in the middle to host Charles Yallowitz. He also has a new book out, so if you haven’t stopped by Lisa Burton Radio, you probably should.

All of these fine people loaned me their space, or have agreed to soon. I would appreciate it if you’d stop by their places and check them out. Maybe you’ll find a cool new blogger to follow. They’re all accomplished authors, so you might find some great reading there, too.

Today, I focused on producing more tour posts for Grinders, but at two per week it was much less stressful. I’m making every post unique, and that allows me to reblog them without sounding like a broken record. More like a wounded record, maybe.

I also made a new pinned tweet. I’m a big believer in the pinned tweet, and regularly share those of my friends and supporters. That’s why I’m embarrassed to admit that I forgot to make one for Serang. Maybe if I hit the Summer doldrums I can toss one out for that story. It isn’t like I don’t have some great artwork to add to it. I’m not much of an artist, but I can cobble together something presentable.

I also worked through critiques for two different projects. My side project was pretty easy, but Lanternfish took some effort. My group helped me make this section so much better, and I owe them a huge debt. Both projects are ready for new words, and I may add some tomorrow. I have some fun research that I need to shoehorn into Lanternfish somehow.

Today I cleared my decks. No idea where tomorrow will lead me, and I don’t really have a plan for it. I’ll check in with all my hosted posts and might even manage some new words. Hope all of you have a great weekend ahead of you.

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Pretty regular day

We managed a small date night last night. It amounted to dinner at the Outback, followed by stopping at the pet store to pick up dog food. Nothing too fancy, but we rented Zombieland Double Tap when we got home. Both of us really enjoyed it.

I started my day by calling my parents. Our conversations were mostly political, but that’s not appropriate for this site. It was just nice to talk to both of them for a while.

Old What’s Her Face and I had a nice breakfast, then I worked on a couple of smaller projects. I don’t have either project quite ready for a critique submission, but I sent them both out anyway. My partners might appreciate some shorter submissions for a change.

Part of this decision is the fact that I have a three day weekend coming up. That would give me some time to address the issues they found and move one of the projects ahead. The Lanternfish is my main project, and is slightly over 60,000 words so far. My side project finally broke 10,000 words. Things are perking along, even though I didn’t work on them this weekend.

My first tour post is scheduled for tomorrow. This one supports the new book, Grinders. I’ll be sharing it, and responding to comments on my host’s site. I also sent my list on to the next potential host. I hope I can write something for him during the weeknights.

Aside from that, I paid the bills and did regular stuff that everyone else has to do. None of it’s too sexy, but it all counts. Touring the new book should gather some new sales, and that’s why we do it.

Next weekend, I should be able to add some words to the Lanternfish project. Fingers crossed for that.

Hope all of you had a great weekend.

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Saturday efforts

Today, I sent out the first submission of my side project. This one involves Lizzie and the hat in their third adventure. They’re chasing vampires this time in a rodeo/country music type environment. I know I’ve kind of avoided vampires, but believe I can put a different spin on it, and still keep the humor the characters have become known for. I’m chewing my nails to find out what my critique group thinks of it all.

I also sent out the manuscript of Grinders to my formatter. She sent me an invoice, but I’m loath to pay it until tomorrow. She’s already completed the finished product, but I can’t publish until I have my Lisa Burton promotional posters. What would one of my releases be without Lisa?

Speaking of Grinders, several bloggers offered to host a cover reveal for me. I sent all those out, and several have posted already. I’m not reblogging these because they’re all the same. If you find one online somewhere, I would appreciate a tweet or Facebook post. I’m getting some nice comments on these, so I have high hopes about the eventual publication.

I wanted to get something out for Chinese New Year, and the cover reveal is that attempt. I’m a few weeks away from publication.

I’ve been working on a critique for a friend, and am about half-way through the submission. I’ll probably finish it tomorrow. Our rules are to send the feedback to the entire group, and it’s a great way to raise my own game. Sometimes we don’t know everything and a bit of effort like this helps me improve my own fiction.

Then I scheduled my next Story Empire post. This one is a continuation of the Character Archetypes; the Mentor. I hope it will be well received.

I’m off until Tuesday, so I have high hopes for Monday. I don’t quite have enough to send out the next section of Lanternfish, but could have by Monday night. The crew left the magical floating island of Bungo Bungo and are headed for Giapon. This is a stand-in for Japan in my story. This is the country that Serang’s Emperor has been at war with for decades. Maybe I can build some tension with placing her in this environment.

Sunday is the day I call my parents, and spend some time with my family. There are some Sundays when I can read or maybe write a paragraph or two, but I don’t usually push it on Sundays.

Old What’s Her Face and I had a lovely date night at one of our favorite places, Kahoots. They have a great selection on tap right now, so I had a Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout, a nice Scotch Ale, and a Expresso Stout. Aside from that, the prime rib was outstanding.

With all that wonderful beer, that’s why I’ll pay my invoice tomorrow. I’m going to watch an old movie tonight and just chill. Hope you’re all having a good weekend in whatever you’re doing.

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Did a lot, but…

Today was my flex day and I had a pretty good list of projects. This was the list:

  • Editing on Serang
  • Work up three small critique sections
  • Send out the shtick for a new Lisa Burton Radio show
  • Read more of a fantastic novel

I got a lot done, but never got all the way to reading.

I started with the interview shtick and got it out the door. This author is looking for a mid July date so I have plenty of time to schedule and get it assembled once it’s in my hands.

The critiques are important to me. When you’re in a crit group, those people are there for you and you have to be there for them. I scratched this off the list.

When it came to Serang, I changed a few minor wordings, and one sentence that made no reasonable sense at all. Funny how those things still manage to slip through at this late hour. I never got all the way through the MS, so this one remains on my weekend list.

When it comes to the weekend, my slate is pretty clear. I can get all the way through Serang, then dedicate my time to reading. I don’t have to start on The Viral Blues edits yet, so if I get that far it’s a bonus.

I also have my next Expansion Pack roughed out for Story Empire. I’m not up again for a while, so I have time to spiff it up. I like to schedule them one ahead, so I might even deal with that in the evenings. Blogging doesn’t quite seem to demand the concentration the other projects do.

The expansion packs are doing okay, but I’d like to see them do better. These are the helpful ideas I have right now, so I’m not moving on until that well dries up.

All told, it was a productive day. I’d like to have done more, but really can’t complain. Back to the office tomorrow.

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My short weekend

I only get a two day weekend on the rotation. My wife is off too, so it doesn’t make for much of a writing weekend. Normally, it isn’t even worth trying.

Tomorrow is when I call my parents, so I lose an hour in the morning there.

I really wanted to reach a part in Serang, so I dabbled this morning among all the noise. This isn’t the same as quality writing time, but it did add words.

It only came to about 800 words, but I got to and through that folk legend I’ve been planning. I like the way it turned out, and Serang is working on completing her quest.

I’m happiest with a callback to her childhood that brought a bit of emotion to the scene. Early reports are that it worked.

This is the start of Serang’s quest. It involves a bit of mining while dealing with the local wildlife. It’s going to take a few words (and locations) to bring it full circle.

It wasn’t productive, but it was successful. Forward progress counts even a few hundred words at a time.

Because I already had some words, this allowed me to send about 6000 words to my critique group. I already have the majority of them back. I seem to keep making the same errors over, and over again. Maybe we all do that, but I’d like to think I’m improving in some small way.

I’ll probably try to address the critiques after talking to my parents tomorrow. They’re coming for a visit next weekend, and I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t seen them in a while. It will be fun, but takes the place of any writing progress.

The rest of the weekend will involve a whole lot of Game of Thrones.

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